Interview with poet/artist Tamara G. Saliva

Tamara Grysel Saliva is a native ‘nuyorican’, born in Brooklyn NY. Raised on the borders of Harlem and Washington Heights, her childhood and teenage years were far from happy. At the age of 14, she decided to escape from home and sought refuge at her sister’s house. In an attempt to find herself, as a young adult, she left New York and began to work and live in different U.S. cities, such as, Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami.

After 7 years, Tamara found her way back home, to Brooklyn with a mind full of memories and life adventures. This was the catalyst that inspired her to take paper to pen, and created in her a voice that was immediately identifiable with people of all creed, race and religious paths. Her writing has received its wings and begun to take flight. Her work has been published in the Hunter College Literary magazine, LETRAS and she has been featured in numerous poetry showcases, including the infamous Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

She has also teamed up with summer youth affiliates to bring spoken word to different groups of inner city kids. She believes that everyone has an inner voice and needs to be heard for liberation, emancipation and creativity.

Not only did I have the pleasure of interviewing Tamara, she’s also shared a few of her creative pieces with us.

Aché pa’ ti, Tamara. Maferefun Yemaya!


What are your genre and your intended audience?

My intended audience, I don’t know that I intended on an audience per say. However the goal is to reach the one person that can relate to my story, and find faith their own survival by seeing that I am too a survivor.

What are you currently writing?

These days I am painting more then writing, but this could very well be due to the first display of my art and some avoidance on my part. I am in the process of writing my memoir. Something I started working on in 2011 yet the emotional roller coaster of the memories have caused me to put a pause on it from time to time, but I have decided that this year I will be focusing on my story.


Ibu Ana- Tamara Saliva


What other projects are you involved in?

I am currently working on creating journals for those of us who feel they have no voice. Those of us who have a similar story of child sexual, physical and mental abuse because victims of these things often feel alone and voiceless so I am creating journals that will always be used as a donation item. I am looking to the community for funds to print these journals. For more information go to:

When do you make time to write?

Making time to write has always been difficult for me, but if lines come to me I always make sure to jot them down.


Yemaya- Tamara Saliva


What would you have done differently in your writing life? If anything at all?

I would have started much sooner.

Tell us about your marketing strategy.

I am still getting the hang of marketing, I do all I can with social media and my own website.

Does your spiritual or political life influence your writing? If so, how?

My spirituality is a huge influence in my writing because writing for me, is a cleansing a release of some sort of energy.


Chango- Tamara Saliva


What would you like to see in your literary community?

I would love to see more support of the community itself. I learned some time ago that if the art or literary scene is not supported, one day there will be no scene to support.


Blue Vein Pages

Below is Tamara’s flyer for Broken Silence – March 22, 2014 at the Simplicity Wine Bar and Café. She will be sharing her words with many other not to be missed poets.

Broken Silence- Saliva

Spiritual Sightings II- carfaith

Please welcome, Libby Clarke! Libby is an artist, designer and educator living in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in conceptual art pieces she calls “paper products to save the world.” Her skills include woodcut, silkscreen, letterpress, and anything to do with computerized graphic design. She currently works as an Assistant Professor at the New York CIty College of Technology.

After sharing my desire to share Spiritual Sightings whenever I came upon them, my friend, Libby Clarke, went a step further and took some pics and shared them with me. I am sharing them with you. Some of her art work can be found at

In the world of the mundane, we get to experience some pretty wonderful things. Walking down a street or two gives us the opportunity to use our senses in many different ways. Here is a series of photos that Libby calls carfaith. Interestingly, I got caught up in the reflection of each shot. It took me a minute to fully appreciate the intended focal point of each shot. I think ultimately that’s exactly what I’m supposed to do. Reflect. Take another minute. Appreciate.

I had also glimpsed some of the spiritual doo-dads hanging from various rearview mirrors before I received Libby’s pictures. The point is that I didn’t take my camera out. I got a little shy doing that. The reflecting dashboards became another excuse. I wondered if there was going to be enough diversity in the relics. I didn’t want to offend anyone by having too many rosaries, not enough of anything else.

Our car, not in this series, holds several prayer bundles- ceremonially made. It holds a beaded little Chief and a cowrie shell bound in leather. All meaningful to us. There was a lot of thought that went into what we hung on our rearview mirror. I often wonder whether people say a prayer with what they hang there.

I’d gone on a spiritual quest called the Journey of the Waters once with my dear Oh Shinnah Fastwolf- a teacher I’m proud to have learned many things from. As a passenger in the rented SUV, riding the Ouray Mountain in Colorado, I was a bit terrified of the massive drop. The car skeletons that dotted the mountain didn’t help to assuage my fear. Prior to starting the drive early that day we smudged the car with sage, created a cornmeal path and rattled as we chanted. On our way back to the hotel that night, it was practically pitch black except for the magnificent stars that spread across the sky. Suddenly, a few us in the car heard rattling and the smell of burning sage from our seats. We knew we were safe. It was all about having a bit of carfaith. I’d practically forgotten that this magical day had actually happened. My friend, Libby, brought it back by using her senses on some New York City streets. For this I am grateful.

Thanks, Libby, for helping us to keep the faith!